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Lorazepam (Ativan) NAMI National Alliance on Mental Illness


10.18.2018 by Brianna Backer

Lorazepam is a safe and effective medication when used as directed. Benzodiazepines may produce emotional and/or physical dependence (addiction) even when used as recommended. Physical dependence may develop after 2 or more weeks of daily use.

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If an overdose occurs call your doctor or 911. You may need urgent medical care. You may also contact the poison control center at.

Lorazepam should not be taken with other benzodiazepine medications.

All FDA black box warnings are at the end of this fact sheet. Please review before taking this medication.

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Lorazepam (Ativan) NAMI National Alliance on Mental Illness

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Avoid drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs while you are taking lorazepam. They may decrease the benefits (e.g., worsen your condition) and increase the adverse effects (e.g., sedation) of the medication. Alcohol increases the risk of accidental overdose with medications like lorazepam.

Lorazepam may be taken everyday at regular times or on an as needed (“PRN”) basis. Typically, your healthcare provider will limit the number of doses you should take in one day.

Regarding breastfeeding, caution is advised since lorazepam does pass into breast milk.

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If you are planning on becoming pregnant, notify your healthcare provider to best manage your medications. People living with anxiety disorders who wish to become pregnant face important decisions. It is important to discuss this with your doctor and caregivers.

If you are taking lorazepam with an opioid medication, get medical assistance immediay if you feel dizziness or sleepiness, if you have slow or troubled breathing, or if you pass out. Caregivers must get medical help right away if a patient does not respond and does not wake up.

Provided by the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (October 2016).

Lorazepam causes drowsiness, so caution should be used when combining it with other medications that cause drowsiness. These could include:

Lorazepam liquid: Measure with a dosing spoon or oral syringe which you can get from your pharmacy.

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Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) occurs when a person experiences excessive anxiety or worry for at least six months. Other symptoms include.

If you miss a dose of lorazepam, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is closer to the time of your next dose. Discuss this with your healthcare provider. Do not double your next dose or take more than what is prescribed.

The FDA has found that benzodiazepine drugs, such as lorazepam, when used in combination with opioid medications or other sedating medications can result in serious adverse reactions including slowed or difficult breathing and death. Patients taking opioids with benzodiazepines, other sedating medications, or alcohol, and caregivers of these patients, should seek immediate medical attention if they start to experience unusual dizziness or lightheadedness, extreme sleepiness, slowed or difficulty breathing, or unresponsiveness.

Shortness of breath, trouble speaking, feeling very tired, dizziness, or passing out.

Lorazepam is a benzodiazepine. It is approved for the treatment of anxiety, status epilepticus (continuous seizures), and as a medication given right before anesthesia. However, benzodiazepines are also commonly used to treat difficulty sleeping and alcohol withdrawal.

Signs of feeling depressed or low mood, thoughts of harming or killing yourself, or lack of interest in life.

The use of lorazepam with drugs like opioid medications has led to serious side effects including slowed and difficulty breathing and death. Opioid drugs are medications used to treat pain and include medications such as: codeine, oxycodone, morphine, and illegal drugs like heroin. Some opioid medications are also in cough syrup.

Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you because you may notice that you feel tired or dizzy.

Lorazepam may be taken with or without food. Take with food if you experience an upset stomach.

If you take the medication everyday (instead of "as needed"), use a calendar, pillbox, alarm clock, or cell phone alert to help you remember to take it. You may also ask a family member or friend to remind you or check in with you to be sure you are taking your medication.

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A specific treatment to reverse the effects of lorazepam does exist. This medicine, called flumazenil, can reverse the effects of lorazepam but must be given through an IV at a hospital. Only a doctor can decide if you need this medication. Common Side Effects.

Avoid alcohol while taking this medication.

Symptoms of overdose include confusion, impaired coordination, slow reflexes, coma, and death.

When starting lorazepam, anxiety or insomnia may improve rapidly or over a period of days.

Medication class: benzodiazepine, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety).

Some people taking benzodiazepines develop a severe allergic reaction and swelling of the face. This can occur as early as with the first dose.

Increased heart rate, headache, memory impairment, irritability, restlessness.

Benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam, are often used for short periods of time only. They may produce emotional and/or physical dependence (addiction) even when used as recommended. Only your healthcare provider can determine the length of treatment that is right for you.

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If you experience these side effects after starting lorazepam they will often improve over the first week or two as you continue to take the medication. Rare/Serious Side Effects.

Some people taking benzodiazepines for sleep have experienced various behaviors while they were asleep/not fully awake, such as sleep driving, making phone calls, and preparing or eating food. The individuals have no memory of the events when they awaken.

When starting lorazepam, anxiety or insomnia may improve rapidly or over a period of days or within hours of the first dose of medication.

Your healthcare provider will determine the dose and method of taking the medication that is right for you based upon your response.

Do not stop taking lorazepam without talking to your healthcare provider first. Stopping lorazepam abruptly may result in one or more of the following withdrawal symptoms: irritability, nausea, tremor, dizziness, blood pressure changes, rapid heart rate, and seizures.

Generic name: lorazepam (lor A ze pam).

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